ACTU can’t ‘cherry-pick’ on collective bargaining, say employers

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ACTU can’t ‘cherry-pick’ on collective bargaining, say employers

The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) has challenged the ACTU, which has suggested the adoption of UK and US collective bargaining rights, to tell the Australian workforce that these laws operate in a bargaining system that is more deregulated than that proposed by the Australian Government.

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The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) has challenged the ACTU, which has suggested the adoption of UK and US collective bargaining rights, to tell the Australian workforce that these laws operate in a bargaining system that is more deregulated than that proposed by the Australian Government.

Peter Hendy, ACCI Chief Executive, said ACTU Secretary Greg Combet told ABC Radio’s AM program this week it was time we debated the collective bargaining rights found in the laws of these countries.

‘The logical extension of this proposition is to adopt the whole of the UK or US systems,’ Hendy said.

‘When looking at laws in other countries you need to take the deregulated with the regulated.

‘The ACTU would cherry-pick the most regulated part of another system and impose it on Australia’s already regulated system, making our system worse.’ 

Compare UK, US and Australia

Hendy said UK and US collective bargaining rights - where employers can be forced to make a collective union agreement by a majority employee vote - exist because there is no other collectively established safety net on wages or employment conditions.

By contrast, Australia has compulsory collective conciliation and arbitration and thousands of mandatory industrial awards, plus collective bargaining choices, he said.

‘If UK and US models were to be introduced in Australia all industrial awards would be abolished, as well as ending compulsory conciliation and arbitration - including no Australian Industrial Relations Commission and no Australian-style unfair dismissal arbitration,’ Hendy said.

‘Even after the Government’s reforms Australia will have a more regulated labour market than the UK or US, including the retention of significant union rights.’

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